What Tablets Looked Like Before The iPad Proves How Revolutionary Apple’s Tablet Really Was



One thing you hear a lot from people who think that Apple has no case against Samsung for ripping off the iPhone and iPad’s designs is that the design of a touchscreen smartphone or tablet is “obvious.”

Well, sure, obvious once Apple did it. But check out what tablets looked like before the iPad: they were all Windows laptops with styluses. Now look at them: slates of glass all designed to be directly interacted with through your fingertips, like a frame into media.

[via Mac Rumors via OP]

  • brandonmartinez

    If you need another post, you could probably do this with iPhones, too.

  • kcdk99

    Why does the Samsung Galaxy Tab look so rectangular in your post?

  • lsla588
  • @rtigz

    In other words, Droid tablets would have been even BIGGER piles of $hit if they were forced to copy the pre-iPad designs and functionality.

  • Daniil Pravoslavnic

    I have a rectangular bathtub, with rounded corners. will I be sued?

  • MacGoo

    Oohhh. I see what you did there…

  • LolaMiller12127

    I just p a i d $21.87 for an i P a d 2 – 64 G.B and my boyfrîend loves his Pänasoniic Lumíx GF 1 Camera that we got for $38.76 there arriving tomorrow by U P S.I will never pay such expensive retail prices in stores again. Especially when I also sold a 40 inch L.E.D T.V to my boss for $657 which only cost me $62.81 to buy.
    Here is the we bsite we use to get it all from, http://bit.ly/GrabPenny

  • MacGoo

    I’m not convinced that there is a singular source for this change. Yes, of course Apple’s design has influenced competitors – it’s the device that’s dominating the category. That being said, with Windows you needed a stylus. It’s not a touch-driven OS, it’s a mouse-driven OS. So Android, QNX and WebOS are making these types of tablets possible as well.

    That being said, industrial design cues are definitely being take from Apple.

  • thatalias

    Tablets in 2008 (two years before the ipad): http://sondreb.com/blog/post/s

  • lls411
  • Cold_dead_fingers

    Those pretty much looked the same as these here…..

  • Rafael Colmenares

    And with iMacs as well….

  • GDal

    Love the prices… $2,000+ Haha

  • Gene

    Remember when the iMac debuted? Soon after, there was a huge explosion in translucent plastic industrial design – in everything from computers to staplers to vacuum cleaners.
    What’s surprising to me is how many laptops are still made of cheap black plastic. I’d have thought that Apple’s solid aluminum design would have been widely copied by now. Perhaps one of the keys to Apple’s latest successes is their investment in machining methods that others can’t afford to copy?

  • TheHammerMan

    the last one is the closest to what we have now (regardless of ipad or not). but the prices are too much. and when ipad 1 was launched i thought it was expensive :)

    i would have to say that apple may not be the first, but they sure made the tablet concept popular and accessible. thru the right combo of the cost, functionality, use cases and form factor/aesthetics.

    anybody disagreeing can make a simple analysis. get the sales figure for slates (volume, not $ – those pre-ipad 1 dinosaurs are expensive, 4-to-1) and compare pre andpost ipad 1.

    now others copying from apple is another thing i guess

  • Jonathan Eads

    Once technology advanced enough to remove a lot of the outer bulk this is where they were heading regardless. I like that the author noted only the tablets that looked least like an iPad even though there were plenty of tablets just prior to Apple’s that looked extremely close to it. There will always be ideas and discoveries that lead into other idea’s and discoveries. If someone can make a tablet better then let them!

  • James Klaver

    This is completely ridiculous. 3 of the 5 “pre-Apple” tablets up there are ruggedized PCs meant for extreme environments! Try to run an iPad through Mil-spec (MIL-STD) testing, I dare you. The day they mount iPads in Humvees over in the middle east, or in police cars here is the day I renounce my US citizenship.

    Also one of the other 2 (I’ve never seen that 5th one) is a full tablet-PC with the screen flipped around. Are you seriously comparing an iPad to a full PC with a keyboard and a legitimate OS? So basically you’re saying that the iPad OS is just as good as OS X, and that an iPad is just as good as a MacBook Pro?

    Apple makes good products, but seriously man, your fanboy is showing.

  • Splif Topnohgih

    Lame post as usual!
    Apple also needs to get a life and stop thinking the sun shines out of their @$$

  • Eric Frederich
  • Joannick Azama

    Apple doesn’t invest in machining methods, Apple don’t build anything.

  • Girts Dumpis

    the day they will use ipads in military is closer than you think! ;) 
    also ipad can be easily compared to your “full PC with a keyboard and a legitimate OS” – hence performance, software availability, usability etc etc!

  • pieter van son

    You probably will. If – on top of that – you use bath soap with apple extract you will be forced to remove and destroy the full applet.

  • dean407

    you do realize that all of those “post Ipad” tablet use OS’s designed for touch interface on smaller screens right? those “pre Ipad” pics are of legitimate computers running full operating systems designed to be used with a mouse. as such they usually have you use styli as well because some icons or links are really small and hard to hit with fingers. not really a fair comparison.

  • Morten Jølnæs

    It’s funny how the landscape tablets in the bottom row have conveniently been turned around to look more like the iPad when those on top haven’t. It’s alo funny that the 7″ Galaxy Tab and the 10.1″ Xoom mysteriously have the same outer measurements which also seems to fit the exact height of the iPad.

    Adding to this you forget that Android did not really exist as a table OS before the iPad but wasn’t developed until later and Windows puts a lot of extra requirements on a tablet in terms of case and buttons as well as problems with power (thus larger batteries) and heat dissipation due to the use of x86 processors. On top of this the resistive touchscreen technology does not allow for the glass finish the same way capacitive does, and capacitive is a much newer technology.

    It’s easy to compare to old tablets when the technology didn’t exist back then.
    Finally making this blog post on Cult of Mac gives away how biased and subjective the post can be expected to be. It’s really quite pathetic how you try to defend a community design which is basically a rough sketch of a screen with a frame. Mind you the bezel to screen ratio doesn’t even seem to match the iPad on that sketch.

    [This comment has been edited for violating Cult of Mac`s http://www.cultofmac.com/cult-…]

  • hchung

    Actually they do invest in machining methods because they dictate to their manufacturers HOW to build their things.

  • Manuko

    “Remember when the iMac debuted? Soon after, there was a huge explosion in ” USB periphals :-)

  • VNederlander

    You’d renounce your citizenship over something like tablet choice? Wow, and here I thought hyperbole was dead.

    The author is comparing what were sold as “tablet” computers prior to the iPad, and what  is sold as “tablet” computers post-iPad. There is no mention of OS (though iOS also changed how other manufacturers treat their tablet interfaces). The take-away is obvious: the success of the iPad has inspired a host of copycats. Incidentally, there are many”ruggedization” options for the iPad that make it just fine for military/law enforcement applications. Most are sub $40.

  • VNederlander

    Excellent post, filled with well-thought-out points and supporting examples. Not at all vitriolic hater nonsense.

  • VNederlander

    There is a WORLD of difference between predicting something and actually producing it, if I am correct in assuming that what you mean to impress upon us here is that Apple was not the first to have the idea that a media device that interacts directly with the user might be an interesting idea. Bradbury basically predicted plasma/wall TV’s in Fahrenheit 451. Star Trek predicted cell phones. The companies that saw the vision and made it happen still get to claim the prize.

  • VNederlander

    Agreed, so long as they are doing it without stealing the expensive and difficult to develop technologies of others. I’d love to see a good iPad competitor that re-imagines what the iPad does, without resorting to copycatting.

  • John Drake

    And all those doors now in almost every commercial building entry, you know the ones that whoosh as they slide open to the side! Star Trek, and many science fiction stories before them, though ST was the first one to incorporate the idea into very door in Star Fleet, even if they were being pulled open and closed by stagehands! 

  • sproketz

    Although I think it does support the idea that the iPad design was obvious.

  • iAidan

    no, the iMac came out and no one bought it. The plastic industrial design came from a break through in plastic discovery. And laptops have always been made from plastic, and so have staplers and Dyson invented the first plastic vacuum cleaner in the 1980’s.

  • iAidan

    mate, that clearly looks exactly like the iPad, and you know what producing it is nothing if the design is not there, Apple clearly liked his tablet.

    Apple did not invent the tablet, the Romans did. Its what they wrote on.

  • ctt1wbw

     What did the Romans ever give us???  LOL

  • ctt1wbw

     Sort of like the Verizon tablets made by Samsung that meet Mil-spec requirements?  LMAO

  • owerrc

    and macbooks (hi hp)

  • CharliK

    Guess you missed the introduction of the single block machined Macbook pros. 

  • zaxzan

    All your Humvees belong to us:- Sichuan Tengzhong Heavy Industrial Machinery Company Ltd

  • HerbalEd


  • HerbalEd

    Yeah … hindsight is always obvious. 

  • HerbalEd

    And you should stop talking out of yours.

  • HerbalEd

    Can’t afford …. or won’t afford. The solid aluminum is definitely more expensive than plastic. But, in this case, you get what you pay for. Personally I don’t want a cheap computer.

  • HerbalEd

    I don’t care who builds them. I care who designs and quality-controls them. BTW, which company do you know that actually builds their own computers?

  • Alan_Peery

    Completely bogus comparison.  All the ones that look moderately like the iPad (a Thinkpad X61t in tablet mode, many Motion Computing’s  models) have been purposely left out to make the transition starker.